February 2020


Travel through the volcanoes to the land of the Maya and visit lush rainforest, crater lakes and perhaps the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in the world. Guatemala’s charm and rich cultural history will be on display in the city of Antigua and the Petén region. Chosen in the 16th century as the capital of Spain’s northern empire in the Americas, Antigua is set among three volcanoes and features cobbled streets lined with colourful, stucco buildings, flowered courtyards and Baroque architecture. Petén, the centre of the Maya world, is where the most spectacular Maya sites are located and where you’ll watch the sun rise atop the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the New World. It’s also the home of partner Itza Wood, where we’ll spend our days in the heart of the Lacandon jungle, sharing our skills with a budding social enterprise and learning about the region’s proud people and rich craft history.


After arriving in Guatemala City, we begin our trip in the beautiful colonial city of Antigua to visit museums, markets and explore the rich culture of the region with local craftspeople. From Antigua, we travel to the jungle region of Petén – spiritual hub of the Maya people – to work on site with the artisans of Itza Wood and experience the magic of the Mayan Civilization. Among other highlights:

  • In the colonial capitol of Antigua we will visit museums, markets and meet with crafts people to develop an understanding of the rich craft history of Guatemala.
  • Dive deeper into the social history of the country to better understand the contextual factors that make it one of the more impoverished nations of central America.
  • From Guatemala City fly north to the Peten region where we will work on site with the artisans of Itzah Wood.
  • Visit the ancient Mayan sites of Tikal or Yaxhá for two days to experience sunrise atop a Mayan pyramid.
  • Stay in the jungle surrounded by howler monkeys and exotic birds.
  • Understand the importance of sustainability and forest stewardship to developing communities in this rich biodiverse region.
  • Share your skills with kids at a local school.


We will work collaboratively the artisans of Itzah wood on a to-be-determined problem or opportunity related to wood products for export. We will assess needs through direct observation and identify design solutions. Trip leaders will guide the process and along with our local partners, we will have some fun and create meaningful outcomes.

Itza Wood is dedicated to lifting individuals from poverty through craft training and employment opportunities in the Petén region of Guatemala. This social enterprise creates unique handcraft furnishing and woodware from locally-sourced wood for export abroad. Education changes the lives of family and children and local employment transforms communities. Itza is committed to sustainable forestry and zero-waste practices that puts people and places first.


This trip is for creative professionals, but also those who want an immersive experience. For most of this trip you will be near our project site, in clean, shared accommodation. We are still finalizing accommodation for Tikal and Antigua. Luxury is never our goal but charm and character are. 

We are looking for 8-10 designers to join us on this design adventure. Applications open early in August 2019.


On this trip we are looking for varied skills. Wood working knowledge is an asset but not necessary. We are always looking for one professional photographer to document the project.


Dates: February 15th to 29th, 2020 beginning and ending in Antigua. You must plan your travel to be in Antigua by the evening of February 15th.

Trip Cost: We are finalizing trip details, but estimates are $2,900.00CAD ($2,250USD) based on double occupancy* (single rooms may be available for an additional fee. Please enquire.)

Accommodation: Guesthouses and hotels with all amenities. Please note our accommodation is chosen for its uniqueness*, so not all rooms are equal. We try to balance the needs of our participants. If you have a smaller room at our first stay, you are likely to have a bigger room at our next stay. 

Itinerary: 3 nights in Antigua, 10 nights at our project site, and one night near the Mayan ruins of Tikal. A detailed itinerary, including hotel information and daily activities will be provided to participants once our team is finalized.

What’s Included: Breakfasts, most dinners, lunches, transportation and accommodation for 14 days/nights. Fully-curated cultural and historical tours. 

Additional Expenses: We’ve taken care of most of the details. Additional expenses include your flight ($600-1000), 3 lunches in Antigua ($5/day), and beverages.

Note: all prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated. It is also recommended you visit a travel clinic before departure.



Special thanks to Itza Wood, our partner in Guatemala. Itza Wood provides  translation services and a local facilitator.  Itzah wood also provides employment and support services to the community we will work with through supporting local schools, vocational training and sustainable forestry. They also ensure that the ideas that are generated from our short time together to be implemented after we leave.

I appreciated the opportunity to travel this way, to be more involved, to get to know people, see where they live. It went deeper than your typical trip. Saying goodbye was hard, you made real connections.

Amy Keeler, Zanzibar 2018

For me, teamwork was the greatest takeaway. I picked up pointers by observing our crew and was excited about how we found ways to connect and overlap. It was really confidence boosting.

Katrina Tompkins, Zanzibar 2018

Seeing a project from beginning to end. Right from first principle design, design methodology and design thinking. Going all the way through to delivering a production prototype in two weeks… That was amazing.

Dylan Horvath, Zanzibar 2018

This is an intimate travel experience where you will engage meaningfully with the community we will be working with. It’s also an opportunity to unplug, roll up your sleeves in a supportive and relaxing environment, to work and network with new people and learn or refresh design skills, all while making profound connections by sharing culture and ideas.

CoDA trips are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities made equally by those who participate. It is team travel for like-minded creatives who aspire to see and engage with the world in a meaningful way. The participants, (you!), shape the outcome. With only eight team members and two guides we are nimble and flexible.


Because we travel with small groups, and the goal of each trip is to work with a community with needs that can tangibly be met though design, we respectfully ask that you complete our application form. We try to balance the right skill set according to the project we work on. Don’t worry, you likely have the goods as our methodology relies on using an interdisciplinary team. Just sometimes we might be looking for a particular skill.

Professional Application

Who can apply? Anyone with creative experience! From architecture to graphic design. From furniture making to ceramics. Does designer seem an apt description for you? Than you qualify.

What happens after I apply? We will send confirmation of receipt of your application. Once a team is finalized, you will have a period of time to pay a deposit to confirm your spot and we will provide more trip information, including a payment schedule and detailed itinerary. 

When should I apply? As soon as you can! Once our trips fill up, we will close applications for that particular trip.

For FAQs or information on our payments schedule or cancelation policies, please see our resources. Or contact us if you have any questions.